The life of an unaccompanied minor in L.A.Full day of high school. Full night of work. Sleep at 3 a.m. Repeat.
This is Gaspar Marcos’ story.
Posted by Los Angeles Times on Friday, July 15, 2016
This is Gaspar Marcos. He’s 18 years old, grew up in Huehuetenango, Guatemala, and was orphaned at age 5. At age 12, he came to the United States after the neighbor who took him in could no longer afford to take care of him. His already dangerous journey to the United States took a nearly fatal turn when he was left to die in the Sonoran Desert, only to then be kidnapped. Eventually, after facing just about every hardship guaranteed to kill someone’s spirit, Marcos made it to Los Angeles.
Gaspar Marcos currently spends his time going to class at Belmont High School, located in the Latino-heavy L.A. neighborhood of Westlake. Going to school is very important for Marcos. “If you don’t have education, nobody will respect you,” he told the Los Angeles Times. “If you don’t educate yourself, you don’t have employment. I want to be a good person and have an education … have a good, stable job. I want to have a home, the sort of home I never had.”
But going to school while learning English and having absolutely no family support isn’t the only thing on Marcos’s plate. He also works long hours as a dishwasher for a restaurant in Westwood, an affluent neighborhood that is also home to UCLA. He needs the job because he lives alone, renting a room in a family’s house for $600 a month.
The 18-year-old knows it’s tough, but he doesn’t let the awful hand he’s been dealt stop him. “At first you must suffer, but maybe further along I’ll have a better future if God allows me to keep doing what I’m doing,” he says in the video.
You can read more about Gaspar and others like him here.